Against a cobalt sky, puffy pewter clouds waltz with the sun. Below, Bradley Noone stands knee-deep in a quiet pool of emerald water. Back and forth. Back and forth. Patiently and with focus, he rhythmically cuts the air with a neon yellow line until finally bringing it to rest gently on the water. Slowly, he strips the line and moves the fuzzy olive and white Dalai Lama through the water.
Time passes; out here how long is of little concern. He thinks “one last cast,” and then, a splash at the surface, and weight on his line. He looks around, but nobody is nearby to help. Without hesitation, he returns confidently to the battle at hand and reels the speckled char closer, bringing the fish to hand as if he’s done this a thousand times instead of one. He grabs the blade dangling from his belt, looks the squirming fish in the eye and breaks the long peaceful silence of the last few hours with a simple, but surprising mantra, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Culture of Gratitude
Noone, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, has seen his share of violence in his 28 years, but clearly, he has not become desensitized to death. “I thanked him without even thinking about it because we were gonna eat him,” he says. “That moment meant something and I wanted to acknowledge the weight, the meaning in his sacrifice just to help us.”